Located on the south shore of Hawaii’s colourful capital Honolulu, Waikiki is home to most of the city’s big-hitter resorts and five-star hotels. Once upon a time, it was a playground for Hawaiian royalty and it’s managed to retain that free-spirited, happy-go-lucky charm today. The neighbourhood’s first hotel, the Moana Surfrider, arrived on the scene in 1901, and it’s since welcomed the likes of the Ritz Carlton, the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. And where upmarket hotels are, swanky rooftop bars follow. For the best sky-high drinks in paradise, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven of the best rooftop bars in Waikiki, Honolulu.
The Best Rooftop Bars in Waikiki
1. SKY Wahiki
Perched on the 19th floor of one of the highest skyscrapers in Wahiki, this rooftop bar and restaurant offers the best birdseye views in the city. The huge wrap-around roof terrace is decked out with huge comfy sofas and fire pits for when the sun goes down. There’s an extensive menu of fresh seafood, champagne and handcrafted cocktails, but the views are the real draw here. Come for 360 degrees of Diamond Head and out to the Pacific. At the weekend, the terrace transforms into a nightclub too.
This upscale Mexican restaurant and bar is tucked away in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza. We get it, you’re in Hawaii and Mexico probably isn’t the first place on your mind, but this place is impossible to resist. The menu features all the staples, including a dozen different tacos and some seriously delicious shrimp cevice. Plus the open-air rooftop bar offers some seriously stellar ocean views. Sit back in a comfy armchair, grab a cocktail from the wall-length bar, then gaze out at the sparkling sea. Come for Margarita Mondays or Taco Tuesdays for a real bargain.
If you think your Instagram already has good game, prepare to be blown away by The Hideout. This hidden gem floats above Kuhio Avenue, atop the Laylow Hotel. Up on the roof terrace, it’s all pastel pinks, rattan deckchairs and palm trees. You could come just for cocktails, but it would be rude not to put the Asian-inspired Hawaiin dishes to the test. Sink your teeth into dishes like the Wagyu Flat Iron Steak or the Wonton Poke Tacos for the full 360 experience. Did we mention there’s Happy Hour from 5–6pm every day too?
If it’s brews with views you’re after, then hotfoot to Maui Brewing Co. The Waikiki branch features 36 craft and speciality beers on tap, including Maui Brewing year-round and special releases and comrade crafts from local independent craft breweries. The terrace is located on the fifth floor, so it won’t win any awards for height but it does offer charming views of the city skyline. There’s an extensive menu to accompany your beer too, including craft pizzas, chicken wings and juicy burgers, as well as huge salads.
Tommy Bahama Bar offers three storeys of farm-fresh food and inspiring cocktails. Inside, there’s a living wall of herbs and tropical plants but it’s the open-air rooftop that’s the real draw. The sprawling space has sand, firepits, live music and stunning views over Honolulu. Beach-inspired signature cocktails include Frozen Mai Tai, Dark and Stormies and a particularly delightful handcrafted pina colada. Unsurprisingly, the food is great too. Don’t miss the Guava Glazed Baby Back Pork Ribs.
For the ultimate rooftop experience, Hokulani Waikiki offers unparalleled luxury up high. The rooftop pool lounge boasts views over the Koolau mountain range, Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be a hotel guest to head here whenever you like, but the space is open in the afternoon and early evening for non-hotel guests. Head here for tropical drinks in fruity flavours and Hawaiin-inspired snacks. If you’re lucky, you might be able to grab a seat for the weekly rooftop cinema too.
Tchin Tchin, which translates as ‘please please’ from the Chinese expression ‘Quing Quing’ is a gorgeous wine bar located in the Chinatown art district. It’s a laid-back atmosphere and the perfect place to relax after a busy beach day. As well as world-class wines, you can sip on artisan cocktails and frosty beers, and nibble on small plates.